Four Major Cities to Ban Diesel Cars and Trucks by 2025

Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City are all pledging to say no to the dirty fuel.

byWill Sabel Courtney|
Four Major Cities to Ban Diesel Cars and Trucks by 2025

It’s looking more and more like diesel’s days are numbered. Four major cities on two continents have all pledged to ban all diesel-powered vehicles from their streets by the year 2025, the leaders of those cities announced yesterday.

The mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City made the joint announcement yesterday evening in Mexico City, as part of the 2016 C40 Mayors Summit, a biennial climate change-related meeting of leaders from more than 80 of the world’s biggest metropolises.

The diesel ban is aimed at cutting down on air pollution in those cities, both in order to aid in the fight against global warming and to improve the health of their citizens.

“Today, we also stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes – particularly for our most vulnerable citizens,” Paris mayor  Anne Hidalgo said in a statement. “Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us.”

The mayor of Athens went even further. “Our goal is to ultimately remove all cars from the centre of Athens in the years to come," Giorgos Kaminis said.

The quartet of mayors promised to add new and build upon existing forms of eco-friendly transportation, such as mass transit, bicycle infrastructure, and walking paths.

While diesel vehicles normally are more fuel-efficient than their gasoline-powered equivalents and produce less carbon dioxide, they produce far more particulates (i.e. smog) and nitrogen oxides, both of which can cause and exacerbate respiratory problems. (The surreptitious generation of illegal amounts of nitrogen oxides is what got Volkswagen into trouble over its diesel-powered models last year.)

Outdoor air pollution is linked to around three million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization, with most of those deaths occurring in urban settings. With a combined population of 17.5 million in just the cities alone—not counting their greater metropolitan areas—eliminating diesel emissions in Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City alone could save roughly 7,500 lives every year.